What a memorable Easter 2020 that was! At the Vatican, Pope Francis conducted the Easter liturgy in the empty Basilica of St. Peters and gave his traditional address "Urbi et Orbi" looking at the television cameras, instead of the teeming tourists and Romans at the St. Peters square. The empty basilica and the square mirrors the world in lockdown in fear of the novel pandemic Covid-19. Today Jesus Rose from the dead, while the world is in paralyzing fear of death.
The Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus was first told to his disciples confined to their own homes. They too feared death like their master, thanks to their association with the Nazarene. Today amidst confinements and gloom, helplessness and hopelessness, separations and isolations, Easter’s message, a new Hope and Life is what the world needs most.
Pope Francis said, "For many, this is an Easter of solitude lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties. May Jesus, our Passover, grant strength and hope to doctors and nurses, who everywhere offer a witness of care and love for our neighbors, to the point of exhaustion and not infrequently at the expense of their own health." The Pope continued, in the midst of that suffering, the message that Christ has risen is "the contagion of hope."
During the liturgy of the Eucharist in the Easter Octave and beyond, we listen to the testimonies of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The world is in need of witnesses of the Resurrection who live the message that The Lord is Alive! He befriends us in the confines of our passions and reasons; he follows our hurried and heavy steps, he is present in our hospitals and homes, he is present even in death to lead us to a new Life.
The Good News of the Bible is the account of the Apostles and witnesses of the Risen Lord. The New Life and Hope for the Word offered by Easter’s dawn was first seen in the transformed lives of the apostles. Their audacity of hope for a reconciled world, zeal to spread a new vision of life for humanity, their enduring joy and strength amidst persecutions and pain, simply, their New Life, were more compelling the world to believe in the Easter event than their mere words. By our vocation to religious life, our lives and services become a copy of the Good News of Hope and Life for others to read.
I believe that the quiet celebration of the Easter 2020 awakened Christian minds to live the Easter differently and tangibly. Amidst the scourge of the pandemic corona virus in the world, there is also a new communion and solidarity in the neighborhoods. Stranger becomes friend, the poor are fed, homes turned to domestic church; new ways of experiencing the care, compassion, kindness, goodness, and divinity of the Risen Lord among the suffering humanity.
The pandemic has taken gigantic proportions and has devastated nations, communities, families and individuals around the world. Our PASSOVER of this worldwide reality is certain, as Easter is, but in God’s own time. Let us live in the light of Easter and continue what Blessed Basile Moreau believed and lived, ‘works of Resurrection’ for a world more green, healthy, peaceful and holy than today.
This reflection for the Easter Season of 2020 was written by Fr. KJ Abraham, C.S.C., the Second General Assistant of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Prior to his election to the General Administration, Fr. Abraham was serving as Superior of the Province of North East India.